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Expedia To Accept Bitcoin

Linsaran Re:Bitcoin lost 11.6% of its value this week ... (87 comments)

In its current form, there's no way any cryptocurrency replaces paypal or credit cards. The major problems: Anonymity, Lack of protection from fraud, susceptibility to loss (lose your wallet, oops.), and user unfriendliness (expecting the average Joe to deal with wallet software and bitcoin addresses is major stretch).

I don't necessarily see all of those things as problems, but let's go through them, shall we.

1) Anonymity: While it is possible for a dedicated person with resources to track crypto transactions (since by it's very nature all transactions are stored in a giant public ledger), the transactions themselves do not identify you. It is in this sense pseudonymous, you know which wallet has bitcoin X in it, since you can follow it's path on the blockchain, but since you cannot identify who a said wallet belongs to without access to information from outside the block chain. As you can create neigh infinite addresses for a personal wallet, and need never give the same one out twice, it's hard to be sure that any given address belongs to any given person. This is not to say that bit coin is untraceable, because it by design is very traceable, it's just that used correctly you can conduct transactions without actually revealing your identity, in much the same way that using cash doesn't necessarily reveal your identity.

2) Fraud protection: On one hand, the fact that bitcoin transactions are irreversible is a good thing, a merchant who accepts bitcoin need never worry about whether they're going to get paid for their services. There is no risk to accept bitcoins because they can never be charged-back, unlike credit cards which can actually result in a chargeback up to 6 months after a sale is complete. As far as someone committing fraudulent transactions using your bitcoins, there is no real protection against that, other than securing your wallet. If someone stole your money clip and spent the cash in it, there's no fraud protection against that either. The lesson to be learned is to better protect your money clip, or in the case of bitcoin, encrypt your wallet.

3) Susceptibility to loss: if you can't be bothered to back up your wallet, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Losing access to your wallet can happen, but with a minimum amount of effort can be prevented. People who fail to do regular back ups of their computers are just tempting fate. And besides, you can lose a real wallet just as easy (arguably easier) than a digital one, so susceptibility to loss is not unique to crypto.

4) user unfriendliness: this is really the only 'problem I really agree with you on, but it's really just a matter of time before the pieces click together.

about a month ago
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Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

Linsaran Re:At least there's always... (475 comments)

While I don't believe for a second that Verizon won't jump on the data cap bandwagon once everyone else is doing it, they haven't spent the last few years pushing data caps onto their customers.

Except that they have. My data plan started at unlimited, then got moved down to 5gb, then got moved down to 2gb, and finally moved down to 2gb shared between my entire family.

You're confusing Verizon with Verizon wireless, a related, but independently managed corporation. You're probably right that Verizon will start pushing caps at some point, but Verizon (the telecommunications company) =/= Verizon Wireless (the cellular phone company)

about 2 months ago
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Do Embedded Systems Need a Time To Die?

Linsaran Re:Or you could just you know... (187 comments)

OpenWRT is so fucking easy to install and configure (easier than some consumer out-of-the-box experiences, even) that there really is no excuse if you expect a secure local network.

No. It's not. To you, or the typical computer tech-savvy /. reader, maybe; but we're not average consumers. My father-in-law is well above average in that he bought a Linksys router rather than depend on the FIOS installed default, and he actually changed the password, but he's not going to reflash it any more than I'm going to rebore my car engine's cylinders with a hand drill. And the various older neighbors who I assist with network stuff, who think the Internet is broken if a web site changes its format, would have no clue whatever.

The REAL question we should all be asking is, If OpenWRT can be so much better, then why is the commercial stuff *not* better?

Step 1, find out what runs on your router (at wikidevi or similar) step 2, download the firmware image (there are even multiple forums with helpful folks to ask if you arent 100% sure) step 3, flash it the same way you would a normal firmware update, step 4 change the default password, and enjoy your new LAN! The only excuse is not knowing... there is no actual technical knowledge required, just basic keyboard/mouse skills, and reading comprehension.

Step 1, presumes that people are aware there are alternative firmwares for their router, which most non-technical people would not realize, if they even know what a firmware is in the first place.

Step 2, presumes that people can navigate a forum, or possibly multiple forums to find the link to a file that they're looking for. Considering how many people must click on those stupid 'download now' ads that end up on half the file managers out there, and end up with some spyware laden crap on their machine when they were looking for a driver or some nonsense, I don't trust non-technically inclined people to figure that out either.

Step 3, presumes they know how to do a normal firmware update, again non-technical people might not even know what firmware is.

Step 4, most non-technical people have less issue with whether something is secure, and more issue with whether something works. The reason so many people use dumb ass passwords like 'password1' is because they're easy for them to remember. They either don't realize that password1 is a bad password, or they don't care as long as it's easy for them to remember.

TL;DR people want stuff that works, and doesn't require they reinvent the wheel to make it work. In their mind a commercial router should work out of the box, without needing to do open heart surgery on it.

about 2 months ago
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Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

Linsaran Re:Freedom of Speech? (328 comments)

See people got it in their head that the 1st amendment is about 'freedom of speech', which is really a very loose summation of what the 1st amendment really is. The first amendment is to guarantee that you cannot be politically silenced. It is to guarantee that you can peaceably assemble, and discuss whatever the fuck you feel like (ostensibly for the purpose of enacting political change). It guarantees that if you choose to espouse something which may not be popular, as long as your speech is not inciting dangerous behavior, the government will not attempt to silence you. If you are attempting to start a riot via hateful demonstrations, it is not protected. If your speech is damaging to another party (such as a political rival), and you do not have sufficient evidence of it's validity, it is not protected.

The problem is that the amendment has been taken too broadly to mean that any form of expression should be protected against censorship. And while I am anti-censorship in all of it's forms, the 1st amendment was not meant to guarantee your right to show pictures of titties on the internet for the purpose of titillation or any other non-political purposes.

about 4 months ago
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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

Linsaran Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (870 comments)

You're a human being with a reasonably competent understanding of basic technological concepts. There is a LARGE portion of the population who does not meet this criteria. [/understatement]

There are people who cannot grasp the concept of putting 3 color coded wires from one box into the back of another box. There are people who cannot understand the difference between their tv remote and their cable remote, and are probably the same people who need someone to clearly show them how to use their remote even though the purpose of each button is clearly labeled. Switching inputs on a TV between a cable box and a DVD player is a challenge to these sorts of people. And these are some examples of a technology (the tv) practically everyone is familiar with, the examples I've given are not new technological developments for TVs, these sorts of capabilities have existed on TVs since the 90s, giving roughly 2 decades for people to become familiar with them. But it still confuses the heck out of a good 20% of the population.

These are people who have trouble working their microwave and you expect them to suddenly work a touch screen order taker, and not screw it up? Not likely. And guess who these people are going to blame for their failure to operate? I mean it obviously wasn't their fault that your machine didn't understand that when I said only ketchup, I meant I didn't want mustard, I still wanted the pickles and onions.

about 4 months ago
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RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Linsaran Re:No place for 'almost', 'not quite' and 'nearly' (423 comments)

They tried the home automation thing about 5-6 years ago, it was never popular so they ended up discontinuing the line. Maybe if they'd waited until the days of the iphone, and android it would have been different, but z-wave was not the way to go.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

Linsaran Re:Short answer, yes (631 comments)

Even a 'day or so' is frankly outrageous considering our current technological capabilities. There is no real reason that an international transfer of funds should even take that long. I'll be fair and state that the 2-3 weeks is an outlier situation, but it's not at all unreasonable for someone transferring funds to a 2nd or 3rd world nation.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

Linsaran Re:Never trusted bitcoin in the first place. (631 comments)

If you want to get technical transactions on the bitcoin network are using the bitcoin protocol, which happens to be cyphered with SHA256. Also should the community of developers determine that SHA256 was no longer a viable cypher, it would be relatively simple to create a cutoff point in the blockchain where new transactions need to be processed in whatever the next generation cypher is. My point was that if the above protocols are compromised because the underlying cryptography is vulnerable, there are much greater dangers in terms of potential fraud or data security, considering every modern agency in the world relies on the premise that those protocols are secure.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

Linsaran Re:History repeating (631 comments)

Oh look, a bank-like entity failed and people lost money. Good thing the FDIC is there to--

Oops.

If cryptocurrencies are going to repeat the last 100+ years of economic history, can they hurry up and rediscover monetary policy too?

To be fair I don't think that foreign investment accounts are covered under the Federal Deposit Insurance Company either. Or for that matter, there are plenty of charter banks that aren't FDIC insured domestically. Even if MtGox wasn't based in Japan, there's no requirement (except as provided by state law) for a bank to be FDIC insured. In short, if you're worried about your money you probably should have some caveats about putting it into an organization that has no official policy for how it's going to compensate you if they screw up, monetary policy or no.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

Linsaran Re:Never trusted bitcoin in the first place. (631 comments)

Several reasons:

1) OK, has anyone - preferably someone with solid crypto/math credentials - ever audited the fscking crypto behind Bitcoin? Anyone? Not that I know of.

The basic crypto behind bitcoin is sha256 it's the same crypto used behind TLS and SSL, PGP, SSH, S/MIME, and IPsec. If sha256 is compromised the fact that your bitcoins are now double spendable is the least of the world's problems.

2) Even if the basic crypto is sound, what about the wallet software? Surprise, surprise, it seems this is how Mt Gox was attacked... And wasn't a TV talking head wallet hacked after he showed the number on the air? Oooops...

The 'official' wallet software is open source, and is not subject to the sort of transaction malleability that affected MtGox. In short the official software is sound, however, the official wallet software is not designed to handle the volume of transactions that an enterprise environment like an exchange needs to be able to process. It simply isn't fast enough to keep up with hundreds to thousands of transactions per second. To this end MtGox like most exchanges used the official source code as a reference point and created their own custom wallet software to interact with their exchange. Unfortunately they made shortcuts in their coding to do this, which allowed this particular vulnerability to be exploited.

3) Any "market" where the majority of the "product" is owned by a very small group of people is not a free market - it's a cartel. And cartels usually are up to no good...

So, no, Bitcoin IMHO is not to be trusted.

And that's different from the over all distribution of USD how? Most of the people with large bitcoin fortunes are early adopters, and frankly why shouldn't early adopters be rewarded for taking a risk on something that ultimately may not pan out. You don't have to go far to find plenty of people who think Bitcoin is a scam, scheme, or otherwise 'no good'. You yourself imply as much. Like anything early adopters take a big risk, if BTC never got to be worth more than chump change they're out time and possibly money if they invested anything heavily into it. As another analogy, 25-35 years ago there were plenty of people who insisted personal computers would never be popular and there was no market for them. You don't begrudge people like Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates who took a risk on fledgeling technology and came out on top do you? Maybe in 10-20 years BitCoin will have gone the way of the betamax and vhs, but then maybe it won't.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

Linsaran Short answer, yes (631 comments)

I trust that bitcoin will continue to be a currency with value and use until something else comes along that replaces it (and given BitCoins incumbent status as king of the cryptocurency world is I believe, unlikely in the near future. There are a number of 'altcoins' which each seek to improve upon BitCoin's core functionality in some way or another, but none of them have successfully come close to dethroning BTC).

Bitcoin has a lot of functional benefits as a system for transferring value, even if it is eventually determined that its volatility ultimately makes it unsuitable as a currency for conducting day to day business with. This is especially true when it comes to international transactions. Currently the fees for transmitting USD across international wires, not to mention conversion to local currency (if needed) are significant, and time consuming (I've oft seen quotes of international wires taking 2-3 weeks to complete, depending on where it's going and what not). On the other hand, a bitcoin transaction is instantaneous, and after roughly 60 minutes is pretty much irrevocably entered into the block chain so that there is no possibility of the funds being lost or otherwise delayed in transmit.

Now does this mean that I trust bitcoin to go up, or down, or sideways, or do anything else? Well, I'd like to say I'm hopeful for a strong future for the currency, and I trust that in the long run bitcoin will eventually stabilize as it matures more, but in the short term, we're still in the wild west so to speak.

about 5 months ago
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Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

Linsaran Re:Bitcoin is not going to last... (332 comments)

Have I actually tried what? Actually linking a wallet to a person. No I haven't, but then I don't have the resources available to me that most government agencies do. Sure the chain can be 'long' and it may be difficult, if not impractical to track down the owners of wallets that are mixed with a mixing service, but all of the transactions are public, and therefore CAN be traced, even if it is impractical to do so. Furthermore most mixing services could themselves be classified as performing or aiding in money laundering or structuring depending on local laws about the subject. So while a user of a mixing service might avoid getting tracked down for their drug charges, they could face money laundering charges instead. In my opinion there's little incentive to most users to use a mixing service unless they have dirty coins, the privacy gained just doesn't seem particularly worth it to me, considering the chain is already pseudonymous.

about 6 months ago
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Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

Linsaran Re:Bitcoin is not going to last... (332 comments)

Bitcoin is pretty much the opposite of untraceable. For a bitcoin transaction to be valid it has to be reported in a giant public ledger where everyone agrees on it. If you send bitcoins to someone there is a permanent record of you doing so. Sure the ledger might not associate a wallet address with a particular person, it doesn't for example record 'John Q. sent Bill W.' 100 BTC, but it does record that wallet '1785' sent 100 btc to wallet '1863'. There are a variety of ways to link a particular wallet address to a physical person, especially if that person is attempting to cash out to any Fiat currency (either the transaction has to be done 'in person' or virtually every exchange that allows deposit or withdrawal of fiat currency requires some sort of identity verification, not to mention it's likely being withdrawn to a bank account, which also likely has a name associated with it). The long and short of it is, that if you want to transact business without a paper trail, cold hard, unmarked cash is still the best way to do it.

about 6 months ago
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Millions of Dogecoin Stolen Over Christmas

Linsaran Haven't people learned by now . . . (132 comments)

And as usual, people who trust their Crypto Currency to a web based service (especially one with such a short history to it, and no clearly defined security practices) end up getting their shit stolen. Really now, if you want your crypto coins (be they BTC LTC or whatever) safe keep them in a private wallet and encrypt it, don't load your fortunes onto some website, then complain when they get hacked.

This is kind of like carrying around a giant wad of cash in your pocket and then being mad when someone mugs you, keep a small amount of 'working cash' readily available, and keep the rest of it in a safe place. The same logic that you'd use with real money should apply to virtual money.

about 7 months ago
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Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA

Linsaran Re:"potentially unwanted programs" (194 comments)

Java was a bit of a tongue in cheek comment, I realize java itself is not a bad thing. It's just that 90% of the computers that have java installed on them, really don't need to have java installed on them, and don't really benefit from having it installed. 95% of the web works just fine now a days without Java or Flash or anything but the native browser functionality, and arguably the other 5% is mostly websites I'd recommend people stay away from anyways. Having additional runtimes like Java and Flash execute from the browser opens up all sorts of security vulnerabilities that shouldn't exist. The fact that Oracle seems hell bent on including the 'ask toolbar' with Java is just icing on the cake. I tell people all the time, that unless you've got a very specific reason to need Java installed on a machine, you're better off without it.

about 8 months ago
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Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA

Linsaran Re:"potentially unwanted programs" (194 comments)

Potentially Unwanted Programs are not quite malware, though in many cases I'd argue are worse. PUPs are generally stuff like 'WOMG Awesome Toolbar', 'Internet Coupon Printer 3000', "Free smilies wacky mouse pointers' and Java.

They're legitimate in the sense that they won't exploit vulnerabilities in your system to install themselves, or (generally) ignore (or interfere with) attempts to remove them from your computer. They might even propose to have some sort of functionality that a user could want. The reality is that the functionality they generally offer is limited at best, and may even be inferior to the native functionality of the computer. They often slow your machine down, eating up your CPU cycles, opening up your computer to additional vulnerabilities, stealing your personal information to sell to advertisers, and generally speaking are not really useful to or needed by the people who have them installed on their computers.

about 8 months ago
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Bitcoin Hits $400 Ahead of Senate Hearing On Virtual Currency

Linsaran Re:Really? (276 comments)

Imagine for a moment that a government decided they were going to go and take half of their fiat currency in existence out of the economy, this wouldn't actually mean that there was now less value worth of money in the economy, only that the individual currency denominations are individually worth twice as much as they used to be.

If an entity with the financial capability to buy $4.8 billion worth of BTC went on that much of a buying spree the price of individual BTC would skyrocket, as the demand for the product would rise while the entity was purchasing them. Then, presumably since the goal of this entity is to destroy BTC, they would not reintroduce the coins they'd purchased back into the economy, thus causing a decrease in supply, that would have the ultimate result of simply stabilizing the remaining BTC at their new higher value.

about 8 months ago
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Chinese Bitcoin Exchange Vanishes, Taking £2.5m of Coins With It

Linsaran Re:Recurring theme? (346 comments)

The really stupid thing is that such an "exchange" does not offer "sketchy investments". The "sketchy investment" is the actual Bitcoin. I've seen no sites offer actual interest or anything: they just offer to keep your Bitcoins.

There are sites which offer interest (paid as a % of the exchange's revenue as a way to attract new members). As well as places that offer investments/loans.

While I agree that the best way to safeguard your BTC is with an encrypted private wallet, there are valid reasons to consider storing them online. Granted you should certainly do your research first, and even if everything is on the up and up, accept that there is some risk involved if the site owner turns out to be a sleaze, or doesn't properly secure his servers against hackers etc. If you're adverse to that kind of risk then keep it in your private wallet.

about 8 months ago
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River City Ransom: How an NES Classic Returned 20 Years On

Linsaran Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (39 comments)

I know I shouldn't feed the troll, but I will respond to the first point. Adding -San to a name is somewhat similar to saying Mr. but Japanese honorifics tend to be slightly more nuanced than the Mr, and Mrs, style honorifics of English. In japan it's considered very impolite to refer to someone by their given name rather than family name, unless you are very close friends. Likewise it is considered impolite in Japanese to leave off any honorific again unless you are very close friends.

Generally adding -san to a name indicates that the person is someone you do not have a close relationship with, and denotes a respectful tone. Other honorifics commonly used in modern japan include -sama, which would be given to someone you strongly look up to or who is highly above your social station, it's roughly the equivalent of calling someone 'boss' but again is more nuanced and respectful than that, -kun is generally used to refer to someone who is below your social station while still being respectful, it's common that in a work environment for a supervisor to speak to a (generally male) junior with -kun, while the junior would refer to their supervisor with -san, while the president of the company would be -sama. -chan is the last commonly used honorific, and is generally used in similar situations where -kun would be used for females, it's also used to indicate 'cuteness' or for small children. A mascot character might be referred to as Mascot-chan if they're supposed to be cute or childish, and it is common for adults to refer to elementary grade or younger children with -chan.

There's more nuances to Japanese honorifics than I give here, but that's the long and short of it, if you're ever in doubt which honorific would be appropriate to a given situation, generally going with -san is a safe fall back.

about 9 months ago

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